I woke up in the early hours of the morning, sweating and feeling awful!
I quickly shook my husband and told him to get the thermometer.
My husband thought the thermometer was broken. (It wasn’t!)
I had mastitis. And it was worse than I ever expected.
Today, I’m sharing The #1 Unconventional Way to Treat (And Prevent) Mastitis.
I only learnt this secret after my first lump got infected.
After days of being bedridden, another mum shared this relatively unknown treatment with me…
It was too late this time to prevent an infection, but over the course of nearly two years of breastfeeding I have used this treatment on FOUR lumps, and prevented each of them from getting infected.
The secret is…
Heat Ultrasound Treatment
A heat ultrasound machine is different from the type of ultrasound you get to see your baby during pregnancy.
Rather than creating an image, the heat ultrasound machine emits heat from the ultrasound wand.
They’re actually used for a surprising number of things…
They can be used on swollen legs, sore spots, and even to help people lose stubborn fat from their faces!
But today, I’m talking about their use on your boobs! 😉
Admittedly, it is a little awkward. You have to expose your breast and hold a bunch of tissues over your nipple to soak up the milk as it is released. That’s why I see a female physiotherapist!
But, the treatment is so effective it’s worth every ounce of awkwardness (and every single dollar!)
Since I love lists, here’s my step-by-step process for getting a heat ultrasound to treat mastitis:
- Contact your local physiotherapist
Not all physiotherapists have heat ultrasound machines, so your first question is simply to ask if they have one.At this stage they will either say,They don’t have one. In which case, ask if they know any other local physios that do
They do have one. Excellent
Be sure to tell reception that you’re a breastfeeding mother and you need a treatment for mastitis, and you need to see a physio TODAY.
In my case, they already had experience with this. And, luckily for me, the physio knew how awful mastitis is, and how effective the treatment is, so she absolutely made sure I got an appointment that day.
A note about mastitis: You might feel silly telling them that you’ve got mastitis if the lump isn’t infected yet. But, there are essentially three types of blockages.
A blocked milk duct is when there is a small blockage, it almost feels like a small hard pea lodged in your milk duct – these are generally easy to clear. The other two types of blockages are mastitis lumps; non-infectious mastitis and infectious mastitis. So once a big, hard lump is formed in your breast, it is mastitis.
For example, I have had two bouts of infectious mastitis, but I’ve had four other non-infectious mastitis lumps.
- Continue to treat yourself at home while you wait for your appointment
While you wait for your appointment, make sure you tend to your breast. You can have a hot shower while massaging your breast. You can also hold a hot face washer over your breast just prior to a feed to get the milk flowing and release some pressure before baby latches on. And, surprisingly, cabbage leaves stuffed in your bra really help! You just need to prep the leaves by hitting them with something like I rolling pin to bruise the leaves (and release the juices). Then wrap them around your breast and enjoy the cool relief!
- What happens during the appointment?
At your appointment, you’ll be asked to lie down on their treatment table.Then, you need to expose the breast that’s blocked.
Here are some clothing recommendations (from a mum who’s done this five times!)…
Don’t wear a bra. I know the thought of not wearing a bra in public might absolutely terrify some of you, but when your milk ducts are blocked you really need to remove the compression that bras create. You can layer on a big jumper, or a thin scarf in hot weather, if you’re feeling exposed.
Wear something that pulls down over your breast. If you’ve got a top that lifts up, your belly will be left exposed and you might get cold during the treatment.
Take a face washer to stuff in your shirt after treatment. The treatment is effective, and it may well cause your breast to leak afterwards. So it’s a good idea to have something on hand to soak up that milk.
Just FYI, you can ask for more than one ‘treatment’. The machine runs for a certain length of time, and if the lump still isn’t gone, pipe up and ask them to keep going. The first time I went, the lump was particularly stubborn and she ran three treatments (all in the same session, but she had to reset the machine three times).
- Watch out for milk blisters
If you have a particularly stubborn lump, check your nipple for milk blisters.Four out of five treatments, my lump has been completely removed just through heat ultrasound. But one of those lumps had one last duct that just wouldn’t clear.
During the treatment, I had noticed a small white speck on my nipple, but didn’t think anything of it. Once I got home, I researched and found out it was a milk blister, so the milk in that duct literally couldn’t get out.
I popped it (which you’re not supposed to do, since it can introduce an infection, so don’t take that as a recommendation!) and had a hot shower. I was finally able to clear the final bit of the blockage.
- Feed your baby immediately after the treatment
The treatment is most effective if you can feed your baby straight away 🙂
- Continue to treat and monitor your breast
Even once the lump is gone, you’ll want to continue to massage and monitor your breast to make sure it stays gone!
That’s it! Thank you so much for reading.
p.s. If you have any breastfeeding friends, please take a moment to forward this article on to them. I cannot stress enough how awful mastitis is, and I want to help as many women as possible to avoid it (and to recover quickly if they have got an infection!) Thanks!